How to improve the omnichannel customer experience: 5 tips for CX leaders

Madeline Jacobson

June 12, 2024

Quick pop quiz: what service channel do customers prefer turning to when they need to resolve an issue?

It’s a trick question. 84% of customers don’t care about the channel they use, according to research from the book The Effortless Experience. They just want their issue resolved as quickly and easily as possible. 

The key to improving the omnichannel customer experience is making sure customers have options and understand which option will be the lowest effort for them. And if they do need to switch between channels, your company should make it as painless as possible.

Benefits of a streamlined omnichannel customer experience

Companies with great omnichannel customer service rack up some big wins for both their customers and business. Here are a few of the benefits of a good omnichannel customer experience:

  • Reduction in call volume. When customers have options such as an online knowledge base or chatbot, they can resolve straightforward issues or find answers to frequently asked questions without calling your contact center.
  • Time and cost savings. When an agent has to ask a customer to repeat information that they’ve already shared in another service channel, it drives up the handle time (and frustrates the customer). If an agent has access to the information the customer already shared, they can solve the customer’s issue more efficiently. 
  • Increased customer loyalty. The Effortless Experience found that 96% of customers with high-effort experiences report being disloyal to a brand, compared to just 9% of customers with low-effort experiences. A seamless omnichannel experience minimizes customer effort and frustration, meaning customers are more likely to want to keep buying from your business. 
  • Increased spending. Customers with the best past experiences spend 140% more than those who had the worst past experiences, according to research shared in The Harvard Business Review. Connecting customer data across service channels can also help you understand past interactions and sentiments so you can share the right offers at the right time.

Who owns the omnichannel customer experience?

The average company has seven customer support channels. In many organizations, each channel is operated by a different team or department. So who owns the omnichannel customer experience?

According to CX consultant Melanie Disse, CX teams should be responsible for governing the insights that come in across support channels and distributing them to the teams that can use them. “That team needs to play with everyone else in the organization,” says Disse. “They’re getting all this feedback, and they need to give it to the right people so they can act on it.”

Knowing that CX is a team sport, we’re sharing five tips to help CX leaders share insights across teams to improve the omnichannel customer experience.

5 tips to improve your omnichannel customer experience

1. Create (and regularly review) a customer journey map

If you don’t already have one, start by creating a customer journey map: a visual representation of all the possible touchpoints a customer can have with your business (before, during, and after a sale or other transaction). You should involve the teams responsible for each touchpoint to ensure you understand what the customer is trying to do at each stage, what their needs are, and what pain points they experience. Customer data from different sources–such as surveys, call or chat transcripts, and support tickets–will also help inform your customer journey map.

If you already have a customer journey map, make sure you’re reviewing and updating it regularly. The frequency with which you need to update it will largely depend on your business: it could be quarterly, biannually, or annually. You should also regularly review your customer journey map with stakeholders across different teams to ensure everyone understands how customers engage with the company at each stage of the business and what role each team plays.

2. Analyze what customers are saying at different touchpoints

The best way to understand how customers feel at different touchpoints is to listen to those customers. You can do this at scale using conversation intelligence software: a type of technology that analyzes spoken or written words and delivers insights about key events in customer conversations. Conversation intelligence allows you to track points of interest such as customer sentiment, agent behaviors, and issues discussed. You can use the insights from a conversation intelligence platform to pinpoint CX friction points and opportunities for process improvements, giving you the information you need to recommend actions to the right stakeholders.

With Tethr, you can filter conversations and build reports based on predicted customer satisfaction or effort scores, repeat contacts, and channel switching. From there, you can look for common factors in the conversations your business can address. For example, if you discover a high volume of calls related to billing disputes are being transferred, this might signal that your agents need additional training on handling this issue, or that you need to update your IVR to better direct customers to the right department.

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3. Use conversation insights to improve self-service

Conversation intelligence can give you the insights you need to improve your self-service channels, such as your knowledge base or chatbot. One good way to start is by using the filtering in your conversation intelligence platform to look for short calls related to straightforward requests, such as resetting a password or checking an account balance. If you’re seeing a high volume of these calls, it could be an indication that your self-service channels aren’t properly set up to help customers with these requests. You may be able to deflect calls on these topics by updating your knowledge base, training your chatbot, or even making it more obvious where your self-service options are on your website.

You can also use conversation intelligence software to monitor your chatbot and identify the issues that are causing the chatbot to become confused. You may discover that your chatbot is escalating issues because customers are phrasing their requests in ways that the chatbot doesn’t recognize. In this case, you can train the chatbot on those phrases to improve its performance. You can even look at your call or live chat transcripts to see how customers describe these issues when talking to an agent, giving you more data to train your chatbot and reduce its confusion rate.  

4. Work with operational leaders to ensure a single source of truth

According to research from Gladly, 86% of customers expect agents to know about their previous interactions, but only 24% experience this in their customer service interactions. 

Why is there such a large gap between the expectation and the reality? For many companies, it comes down to customer data silos. In other words, information that’s captured in one channel isn’t shared in others, which can lead to issues like customers having to repeat information when they switch from chat to a phone call. 

If data silos are leading to disjointed or frustrating customer experiences, you’ll likely need to work with operational and technology leaders at your company to establish a single source of truth for customer data and ensure your customer service agents and managers can access it. As you add new technology, look for solutions that integrate with your single source of truth so you can keep your customer data sources connected. 

5. Create a shared view of CX goals and accomplishments

Your customer data isn’t the only thing you should centralize. Make sure you’re sharing CX goals and accomplishments with leaders and employees at every level of the organization. Sharing this information with frontline customer service agents is especially important. They’re working in what can often be a tough role, and understanding how they contribute to the company’s customer experience wins can increase job satisfaction and improve performance.

Keep emphasizing that everyone in the company contributes to CX, and whenever possible, use data to back that statement up. You can use your conversation intelligence platform to measure the ROI of CX improvements across channels. For example, if you work with the mobile app team to address an issue that was driving a large volume of calls, you can show them the decrease in call volume–and associated cost savings–after they fix the issue. This helps make CX initiatives more tangible and motivates teams to continue improving the omnichannel customer experience.  

Listen to your customers to improve the omnichannel customer experience

If there are friction points in your omnichannel customer service, your customers will let you know. They may not always tell you in a survey, but they’re sharing this information in other ways. Analyze your customer conversations for mentions of channel switching or failed attempts to use self-service channels. Look for repeat contacts and see what topics customers discuss in these conversations. Identify the points in conversations when customers become frustrated and look at the factors impacting their frustration. 

Tap into your customer data sources–both structured and unstructured–to extract insights into your omnichannel customer experience. Once you have those insights, share them with the people who can act on them–and make the recommended next steps clear. These data-driven recommendations will allow your company to streamline its omnichannel customer service and deliver the low-effort experiences your customers want. 

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